Sunday worked out quite nicely for Arsenal FC.
Leicester, the absolute darlings for some Arsenal fans are now on the same points as Arsenal after 5 games. Rodgers out, anyone? Didn’t think so.
Chelsea showed that they are actually pretty decent, dispatching of Spurs in a clinical fashion. No doubt Spurs are saving their best for next weekend, but it doesn’t look good for them, Harry Kane is not looking the £150m player he was during the summer. Thiago Silva, same age as me, dropping a worldie performance again.
West Ham lost, which is good for us really, but they were really, really decent. David Moyes subbing on a penalty taker was peak awful, but they were as good as United most of the game. Their football is… exciting.
The big shift for me is that last weekend, Norwich was a 6 pointer. This weekend, it’ll be Spurs. Win that game and we’re back in the top 6 mixer, lose and I’ll be taking cover for a few weeks.
In the post-Burnley away day glow, there are some things that I’m enjoying.
There’s a picture of Ramsdale over a Tierney who is down injured, Burnley players come rushing in, Aaron and Gabriel protect him and shove the players away. Small thing, but you love to see it. That’s camaraderie and it’s an edge we’ve not had for a few years.
This stuff matters pic.twitter.com/iHwCJgjLnh
— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) September 19, 2021
I also liked the video at the end. Auba is all smiles, Arteta is fired up on the pitch, and all the players are loving on Tomiyasu who is on the floor exhausted.
That Burnley game was a really good run out. The football wasn’t stunning by any stretch, but those games are about character and doing what is needed. Turfmoor is a beastly place to go, the fans are electric, the grass is long, and they don’t water the pitch. Notable that Ben White called this out.
‘It was a tough one, my heart skipped a beat for a second. It was really, really dry out there today & my pass back didn’t get there at all. Luckily Aaron came to save me’
I do love the ‘I WILL NOT HEAR IT’ merchants acting like things like this don’t matter. Reality is, it’s tough, and we can say it because we won. But the grass was clearly an issue we didn’t deal well with, and it was probably the reason so many of our final third passes were hit short. We didn’t get our feel on the pitch, so there’s hope we can find that against Spurs at the weekend when the pitch will roll like an ice rink.
Back to the Spurs game. Nuno has a tough week on his hands. Morale in their camp will be low, their fans will start feeling the heat, and he has to show up. Their League Cup game is Wolves. There’s a personal pride thing for Nuno, but also a need to get his team firing. Could we see him rolling with a first team looking side? Maybe. A win for us gives Arteta the luxury of rolling with a younger team and resting some of his seniors (particularly Saka and ESR).
Player hype post Burnley? I think Gabriel is the main man. He had an inconsistent season last year and COVID clearly messed with him. But he’s in season two mode and he’s looking like a really, really top talent again. He has the physically imposing nature of Sol Campbell, and the recovery ability of Kolo Toure. He leaves it all on the pitch and he’s a great counterpoint to Ben White.
Aaron Ramsdale is the big talk post-game. We have a keeper that wants to dominate his area. We genuinely haven’t had that since Jens Lehmann. The biggest mistake Bernd Leno made this season wasn’t his lack of command of his 6 yard box against City, it was letting himself get pinned from a set-play against Brentford. He allowed himself to be man-handled. We’re not going to get that with Ramsdale. There were some shaky moments, he was caught on the ball a couple of times, but overall, he really does have a lot of softer skills we’ve lacked. Fan connection, fan-like passion, and loads of communication with his players. That’s a great thing. Early days, we’ll see how we feel when he drops a clanger, but so far, so good. Looks a better option than Neto.
Let’s also talk about Thomas Partey. I love him. If there’s a player our season hinges on, it’s this one. He has so much about his game. He’s tactically sharp, he’s an athlete, and he absolutely commands on the pitch. He’s a way off full fitness, he left the pitch because of cramps, but man… if he can get his Atleti fitness back, he’s going to be a force this season.
Right, on that note, please watch our video or listen to the podcast.